by George W. Penington  -  Editor



HUNLEY Replica Moves To USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park 

Naval Submarine Alligator - UPDATE
John Augustus Walker Murals -Horace L. Hunley
Scientists remove Civil War sub rear hatch
Work on Hunley to go on for years  
tour PLANNED by bus of Confederate Naval sites
Tours of the Hunley




ALL issues are dedicated  to the brave and honorable Men of the Hunley and  to the Subscribers and Contributors to each issue, particularly to the CSS H L HUNLEY CLUB and The Post and Courier, and The State Paper, and lots of individuals.

Thanks to for the subscription donation.

Bigamy, said Wilde, was one wife too many - and monogamy was the same.

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 Pictures above provided by CSS HL Hunley Club member


HUNLEY Replica Moves To USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park 
Wednesday, Dec 17, 2003
View of the Park - 2002

Replica of Submarine HL Hunley Moving to Battleship Memorial Park

On Wednesday, December 17, 2003 the replica of the HL Hunley was moved to its new permanent home, USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park. The HL Hunley arrived at Battleship Memorial Park around 10:00 am and was quickly set up for display. The HL Hunley had been located at 355 Government Street, the Bernstein-Bush house and the former location of the Museum of Mobile since the early 1990s.

The HL Hunley was designed, built, and tested in Mobile, Alabama over a number of years, early during the Civil War. It was then transferred to Charleston Harbor, and was the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel. It sank under mysterious circumstances during the return trip back to port. It lay in Charleston Harbor until it was raised in 2000. The HL Hunley is now being restored and is located at the U.S. Naval facility in Charleston, SC.

Sometime during the late 1980’s, Mobile United commissioned an impressionistic model of the HL Hunley based on the best available data. The completed model has been on display at the Museum of Mobile since completion.

Mobile Museum Board Inc. arranged a loan to the USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission for the move. The HL Hunley’s permanent home is near the USS DRUM, a WWII veteran with 12 battle stars, sitting alongside the walkway to the DRUM in order to further illustrate submarine technology.


In exchange for this loan, the Battleship Commission will have signage directing visitors to the Museum of Mobile to further their historical knowledge of the era.

“We are absolutely delighted,” said Bill Tunnell, Executive Director of Battleship Memorial Park, “to have this magnificent replica of the Hunley displayed near the National Historic Landmark submarine USS DRUM (SS-228). It is a wonderful example to show our visitors the development of submarines in the United States. We are proud to participate with the Museum of Mobile on this great cooperative display.”

The Park and the Museum had collaborated on an earlier exchange. In 1986, the Park loaned the Museum for permanent display a model of the Hunley depicting the interior of the submarine. The model had been on display at the Park, but since Hunley was built in Mobile, Battleship officials felt the Museum would be the better place for display.

USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park was established to honor Alabamians who served in all United States military actions, Battleship Memorial Park hosts over 300,000 visitors annually, and is an internationally known major tourist attraction in Alabama. Since opening in 1965, it has been self-supporting for daily operations without using State of Alabama, or Mobile City and County tax funds.



Hunley replica in background

USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park has suffered immense damage from Hurricane Katrina as the killer storm ripped through the Central Gulf Coast area during the morning hours on Monday, August 29, 2005. A storm surge of at least 10 feet coupled with triple digit winds has dealt the Park a crippling blow. The unofficial surge is the largest ever recorded in Mobile Bay.

Initial damage assessments show that Battleship ALABAMA (BB-60) has shifted position and is listing some 5+/- degrees to the portside or landside. The aft concrete gangway leading up to the ship has been critically damaged. The Aircraft Pavilion has significant damage to all sides and may be a complete loss. Many aircraft and displays inside the Pavilion have been severely damaged. Submarine USS DRUM (SS-228) has apparently suffered little, if any, damage. Although the Pavilion and Gift Shop were completely boarded for protection, Katrina’s winds, with a 108 mile-per-hour blast recorded at the Park while the Wind Gauge was still operational, ripped the boards from both buildings. Breaches to the Pavilion exterior are numerous. The Gift Shop glass walls were broken, with two feet plus of water in the building, which houses the Ticket Office, Gift Shop, Inventory Stock Room, and Snack Bar.

As this report is being written in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane passing through Mobile, a minimum of five feet of water covers the entire Park as well as Battleship Parkway. Water is lapping at the bottom of the I-10 bridges. Downtown Mobile has severe flooding.

The entire Battleship family, which includes Park employees, Battleship Commission members, and especially her World War II crewmen, are optimistic about the Park's recovery. Park officials have pledged a full restoration to make the Park bigger and better in light of this natural disaster.

NOTE: January 9, 2006 marked the Grand Reopening for USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park - In a phone interview with Staff September 28, 2006 they stated that they plan to restore the Hunley replica as soon as possible and that it was always a popular exhibit. They discovered that the Hunley exhibit was more appropriate at a  Naval Museum where visitors were more focused on a topic of their similar interest.


  •  Naval Submarine Alligator - UPDATE
    the first submarine in the United States Navy

    Ladies and Gentlemen ;

    It is with great pleasure that I write to announce a major revamp of the Navy & Marine’s Alligator website. This rework was long overdue and has resulted in the concentration of the previously-known history as well as the discovery of quite a lot of new information.
    A large portion of the letters relating to the construction of Alligator are now posted in “The Historical Records” section, as are the various reports on Villeroi’s earlier submarines­including not only his original “fish boat” and the subsequent “duikboot” (“dive boat”) sketched by the Dutch, but also several pieces written in American newspapers describing his first experiments along the Delaware in 1859; these appear on the Villeroi page under “The Boat & Its Designer.” This section also has new, large-format PDF files of the original schematics, as well as a line drawing of Alligator based on those drawings. Several articles on the Neafie & Levy Ship & Engine Building Company round out this portion of the site, along with a location map of Philadelphia.
    Alice Smith’s exemplary research on the men and women who built and manned Alligator appears in “The Crew” section, as does a separate page devoted to its last commander, Samuel Eakins­who is quickly outstripping Villeroi as the most interesting person involved with the boat. Sam had a varied and impressive career in several fields, including silver plating, explosives, and diving. The intersection of the last two of these got him a job on the Philadelphia expedition to Sebastopol, where his name appears four times in one newspaper report. (A great many other reports on the operation are now part of the site as well­not so much because they relate to Alligator, but just to give an idea of what submarine salvage technology was like at the time.)*
    “The Missions” section has a brief description of each of the missions assigned or proposed for Alligator as well as suggestions as to how effective the submarine might have been at each.
    Additions planned for the immediate future will include a section on other submarines of the period (antecedents as well as contemporaries) and some information on the science behind Villeroi’s air scrubber.
    Lastly, please note the list of researchers that appears at the bottom of the main page; I know I've left people out, and would appreciate feedback to correct the omissions.

    No, we have not (yet) physically found Alligator--but we continue to pick up more and varied information about its inventor and the sub in the historical record--things we never even suspected. While everything will be included in a major revamp and update of the Navy & Marine LHA Alligator website (that I hope to have finished by mid-September), here are some teasers . . .

    The fact that Alligator employed a diver who exited through an airlock in the bow has always been a known fact about the boat. But in rereading several letters penned just before the fateful trip to Charleston, it looks like Samuel Eakins had another idea about how to use the sub to make an attack--one that did not involve a diver at all . . .

    In seeking to better understand de Villeroi's background in submarine research, we continue to turn up newspaper and journal articles that describe his experiments. These will all be posted as part of the rework mentioned above. There is one article that appeared in a French journal, l'Echo de la Fabrique, that we could use some help with. While we have the gist of the piece from a subsequent English-language article that must have been based on it, the French original has several paragraphs not included in the translation. Do we have any French-speakers on the update list? And of those people, would anyone be up for volunteering a translation? So that you know what you're getting into, the text of the work follows. If you are interested, please email me so we don't end up having six people duplicating the work. Merci!

    Chuck Veit
    President, Navy & Marine Living History Association

    *I admit to getting carried away with locating reports on this massive undertaking in hopes of finding further mention of Eakins. As a result, I think we now have the single largest (maybe the only) page devoted to the attempts to raise the Russian fleet following the end of the Crimean War!

    Alabama Department of Archives & History
    624 Washington Avenue
    Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100

    John Augustus Walker Murals
    In 1936 John Augustus Walker was commissioned to paint these murals for the arts division of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The murals are oil on canvas paintings applied directly to the wall; they depict high points in Mobile’s history. They were installed in Mobile’s Old City Hall/Southern Market complex. Located on South Royal Street, it is now the home of The Museum of Mobile.

    Science and Invention
    This mural shows Horace L. Hunley supervising the building in Mobile of the submarine Hunley  in 1863. The Hunley  was the first submarine to sink a surface ship in warfare.

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    Hunley scientists Paul Mardikian (from left), Nestor Gonzalez and Philippe de Vivies prepare to hoist the submarine’s rear hatch after it was removed from the aft conning tower at right.

    The last time the rear hatch of the H.L. Hunley was opened, a small band of men climbed into the submarine by lantern light and never came out.

    On Tuesday, more than 142 years after that night, scientists took off that hatch and, for the first time, peered into the Confederate sub the same way its crew did.

    Looking into the sub's aft conning tower like it was a passage to history, scientists immediately began looking for clues to tell them why the Hunley disappeared after sinking the Housatonic, why those men never came back.

    What they initially found was a mixed bag. It appears the hatch was latched - that's what they expected - but the archaeologists were amazed by what seems to be a brass pressure valve in the hatch.

    "This is pure speculation, but it may have been to relieve pressure in case of an emergency," said Maria Jacobsen, the project's senior archaeologist.

    Hunley firsts have become somewhat routine at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, but this was an exception to the people who know the project - every scientist in the place was watching the hatch open, as if it were a moonshot.

    "It's been this way since Ridgaway closed it," said Hunley senior conservator Paul Mardikian, evoking the ghost of the sub's first officer, Joseph Ridgaway. "It's bigger than I would have thought."

    The hatch - which seems impossibly small for anyone to squeeze through - is bigger than original estimates.

    The oval-shaped conning tower is about 16.5 inches wide and nearly 21 inches long - practically spacious for gaunt 19th century sailors to slip through. Some historical records of the first attack submarine suggest tighter confines, claiming the hatches were merely 15 inches wide and "under two feet" long.

    Part of the reason the opening seemed smaller was because of the mass of concretion - sand and mud that has hardened like concrete on its skin - is thicker than anyone realized. With the hatch removed, it's easy to see that the cast-iron walls of the conning tower are only a centimeter or so thick.

    Scientists had to remove the rear hatch to get the last glass deadlight out of the sub. Unlike the other deadlights, all mounted from the outside, the aft hatch's glass porthole is accessible only from the inside.

    And since the hatch was still secured, its locking mechanism stood between the scientists and the glass. The forward hatch will not have to be removed; its glass could be removed from the outside.

    It took about a week to get the rear hatch off, a tricky proposition given that the hinge on the cast iron hatch had been sanded nearly off by harsh ocean currents and was so brittle it could break off in your hand.

    Jacobsen said scientists were helped by the rubber gasket, which expands and contracts with temperature. It had expanded enough to crack the concretion. They were also helped by the fact that the part of the locking mechanism that held the hatch in place has long since disintegrated. All that was holding the hatch on was the concretion and a extremely fragile hinge pin.

    The hatch is now in the lab, where the scientists will X-ray it, study it and try to see if it opens up anything else.

    Contact Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or


    Hi George,

    I enjoyed reading issue 65 (haven't finished all of it yet). <<LSN sub

    Several things I want to mention.  The first is that the LSM sub was never designed or meant to operate in the Mississippi River.  I never mentioned it, and I didn't see it mentioned in the great article by Andrew R. English,  but from the many references of the Mississippi and it's naval blockade, it might have implied that it was to operate in the river.  It's sole purpose  was to navigate in Lake Pontchartrain, where New Orleans was being menaced by a Union gunboat (I can't recall its name at the moment). 

    The current in the Mississippi is so strong, it would have been impossible
    to overcome.  In fact, if you stand on the levee in New Orleans and look at the river, you will notice that along the shore line, the river actually
    flows upstream due to the eddy force generated by the current.  This was used extensively by steamboats traveling up the river during their day. Boats hugged the shoreline going north, and traveled south in the center of the river.

    Since the Pioneer was being tested in Pontchartrain, and scuttled there in a canal when New Orleans fell, and both America Diver and Hunley were tested in Mobile Bay, it is fairly safe to say that most hand-cranked designs were built with the plan to operate them in the stillest of waters.  The possible exception is the sub supposedly operated in the James River, and even the ones built here in Shreveport.  The Red River was a treacherous waterway, infamously known as the "Steamboat Graveyard".  I can only imagine that the Confederate intention was to make a one-pass strike against Union ships traveling upriver.  The subs were equipped with a forward spar mounted torpedo, and a rear, rope towed torpedo.  The phrase "suicide run" comes to mind.

    From what I have read, the James River sub is probably still there.  A spy
    supposedly informed the Union Army about the sub and its snorkel float, and Union artillery trained their cannons on the float when it was seen,
    destroying it.  Which probably killed the crew.

    It was mentioned in the article by English, that someone speculated the
    socket in the front of the LSM sub was a sighting device.  This is not true.
    Running trim, the socket was probably underwater, and the back end of the socket is one piece with its sidewall as you can see from my attached picture.  The camera angle distorts the photo, making it appear that the socket is angled downward.  I placed an inclinometer in the front opening, and the tube is at zero degrees.  Also, during its many years of being on display, someone crammed a rock into the tube, and only about five inches of the inner length can be measured from the outside.  I guess it to be about 14 inches long.  The tube appears to be hammer welded to the nose plate, which is riveted inside the hull plates, not outside like a cap.  It can only be speculated as to how the nose would have performed while trying to drive a torpedo into the bottom of a ship.  Still, this was a first of its kind by the builders, and performance parameters had to be guessed at.

    The bottom photo shows the dive bar, connected to the dive plane axle and stuffing boxes, and part of the front rudder steering mechanism.  The rear was controlled by the same design, and a T-bar equipped with pulleys was used to cross the connecting ropes, allowing the rudders to move in opposing directions.

    It is also my opinion that this was a purpose-built machine, not a prototype for a larger machine.


    NOTE: Hi George,

    Glad you liked the email.  In re-reading it, I'd like you to make one
    change, to clarify my description:

    The bottom photo shows the dive bar, connected to the dive plane axle and > stuffing boxes, and part of the front rudder steering mechanism.  The rear (RUDDER) > was controlled by the same design, and a T-bar equipped with pulleys was > used to cross the connecting ropes, allowing the rudders to move in opposing > directions. Looking forward to the next issue!

    Technical info:

    The use of cast iron is almost non-existent on this boat.  Apart from the cast iron stuffing box housings for the prop shaft, rudders, and dive axle, all metal is 1/4 inch sheet iron for the hull, and 1/8 for the control surfaces and prop.

    There is a brass ring inlet on the right side of the boat, forward of the hatch area, it's center is about an inch in diameter.  It is obviously an intake/exhaust port, for connecting to interior tubing to flood for ballast, and exhaust for surfacing.  There are no ballast tanks.  The occupants of the sub had to operate in water that was probably waist deep while submerged.  I have suspicions that there was a wooden plank used as a "floor" in the bottom V of the hull, and have been told that a type of
    wooden structure was found in the bottom during conservation.

    The hatch hole has a flat surface of metal (it is flat, but follows the arcing contours of the hull), mounted on the inside of the hull and riveted into place, extending into the hatch hole opening about 1 1/2 inch.  It provides a sealing surface for the hatch, but there is no inner latching mechanism that I have found, so possibly the latch bars were attached to the cover.  It is my feeling the hatch cover was a single piece of sheet metal, formed to the contours of the hull, so that when closed, the cover appeared to be a part of the hull, with possibly a deadlight installed to see when the sub was at the surface.  The hinge area for the hatch is still in place.

    Navigation sighting was by retractable periscope, mounted forward of the hatch, and used by the pilot.

    Cranking was by two men, working a crank mounted to the left wall.  From the design of the wheel on the inner end of the prop shaft, it appears that the linking was through two sprockets, connected by a wide, bicycle type chain, and not a set of two gears.

    Steering was accomplished by the pilot moving the front rudder bar, looking much like the handlebars on a bicycle, with an eyelet on each end, to tie the connecting rope to.  The ropes traveled to the back rudder, and its similar handlebar.  If there were ever guides for the ropes, mounted on the inner hull, all evidence is lost to the lower hull rusting through.  As stated earlier, the ropes had to cross just before reaching the rear rudder bar, for the rudders to work opposite each other.  There is a bracket still in place, that would have held the T-bar and pulleys to make the ropes cross.  Had this not been done, the boat would have merely crabbed from side to side, and never could have turned around.  Both rudder shafts are encased in a tubular, sheet metal housing, terminated below the "handlebars" with a cast iron stuffing box.  Where the shafts exit the hull, one-piece sheet metal "clams" are riveted to the hull, providing a bearing area for the shaft.

    So, what happen?  Why was the sub lost on it's first dive?  Here's what I think:

    On the forward face of the prop shaft gear, there is the remains of a broken, right-angled stud, fastened to the face of the gear by bolt and nut, near the outer rim.  Above that, riveted to the top of the hull and extending down, is a square "C" shaped bracket, with a hole in the bottom lip. 

    It is my belief that, affixed to that bracket, was a hand pump for pumping out the ballast water, by means of a pipe and valve system, connected to the brass inlet in the hull.  The piston shaft of the pump was connected to the stud on the face of the prop gear, by means of a horizontal, oval eyelet, which transformed the circular motion of the prop gear to vertical motion, to operated the pump.

    The pump would have operated continuously, as the prop crankshaft was worked, its suction of the interior ballast water being controlled by opening and shutting a valve at the pump.

    The crew, after submerging, worked in the light of a candle, or in total darkness.  Shortly after submerging, while working in waste deep ballast water, the stud on the prop shaft gear broke.  Panic ensued.  The piston shaft was impossible to work by hand, without some type of lever/handle. Quite possibly, the crew moved to the rear, desperately trying to work the pump, causing the boat to angle downward at the stern, causing the pump area to be submerged in the ballast water.  The hatch, being several feet under water, was impossible to open, due to outside water pressure.

    And the rest, is the history we know.
    Steve Smith

    P.S.  A month before Katrina hit New Orleans, my wife and I drove to Mandeville, Louisiana, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, to visit the Maritime Museum there.  I don't know how badly it was hit by Katrina.  I took several photos of the mock-up of the Pioneer sub, which is on display there.  I'll send them to you, if you are interested.


    -- George W Penington <>

     Hey Steve...Thanks for the new news and response...I  am sending Andrew  English a copy..see if he wants to add something for the next newsletter.. I am piecing it together now to send out at the end of  the month.  George

    Hello George,

    I was delighted to read Steve Smith's comments.  I
    will write tomorrow with more info.  I think his
    photos of the sub interior are great too.  Interesting
    to read today in other research, that Lt Alexander
    was a British subject who worked in the Park & Lyons
    shop in Mobile and helped design the HUNLEY.  Seems to be a very strong connection between Britons and Confederate submarine construction.
    Sincerely,  Andrew

    P.S.  According to ORN Series I Vol 18 (1904)p. 464, I believe the vessel on Lake Pontchartrain Steve Smith was referring to was the gunboat USS NEW LONDON (the so called "Terror of the (Mississippi) Sound" She along with the USS CALHOUN (former Confederate privateer and later blockade runner) proved a threat to Confederate shipping between Mobile and New Orleans before April 25, 1862.
      Also see ORN Series I Vol. 26 (1914) p.187-189
    Unrelated but refers to J. D. Breaman and E.C. Singer
    building the torpedos used by the "submarine boat
    built at this place (Mobile), of which Whitney and
    myself (Breaman) bought one fifth for $3000.  We took her to Charleston (S.C.)"  He goes on to describe Lt. Alexander and the efforts to test the boat and later the sinking of the HOUSATONIC.  This was obviously a reference to the HUNLEY.
       See same volume p. 104 for a description of the 4
    submarines at Shreveport.  40 feet long, 40 inches
    wide, 48 inches deep, equipped with two torpedos,
    (forward boom mounted, stern mounted on a plank)
    These submarines traveled at a speed of (reportedly) 4 MPH and traveled 7 feet under the water.  They were equipped with deadlights.

    Also Admiral David Porter regarded E.C. Singer and J.
    D. Breaman (and others in the Torpedo service) as
    great threats and proclaimed "Sooner we are rid of
    them the better."     

    Andrew R. English received a Bachelors degree in History from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1984 and a Masters degree in History from the same institution in 1987.  He is currently a Major in the United States Air Force. Having published a history of Hattiesburg, Mississippi entitled: All Off for Gordon's Station  in 2000, this is his second book.

    Hello George,

    Can you tell me the thickness of the HUNLEY's plates? and what size were the rivets, I am guessing they were three quarters of an inch wide? also were all the rivets a uniform size?  Thanks in advance for any help
    you can provide. Sincerely,


    When the first hull plate was removed, its thickness was given as 3/8"  I've also seen that dimension somewhere else.. The National Parks Service site report used 5/8" thickness for weight calculation...... 1/2" for strength calculation

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    William  J. Blackmore's

    USS Monadnock (1864-1874)

    USS Monadnock, first of a two-ship class of 3295-ton twin-turret monitors, was built at the Boston Navy Yard. Commissioned in October 1864, she was sent to Norfolk, Virginia, to begin her Civil War service. In December 1864 and January 1865, she used her four fifteen-inch guns to support the two assaults that finally captured Fort Fisher, North Carolina, thus closing the port of Wilmington to blockade running. After Fort Fisher was taken, Monadnock went to Charleston, South Carolina, to take part in final operations against that city and its defenses. In April 1865, she served briefly on Virginia's James River, then steamed south to Havana, Cuba, where she remained until June, covering the Confederate ironclad Stonewall.

    After special outfitting at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, in October 1865 Monadnock began a long voyage to California, the longest cruise that a monitor-type warship had yet undertaken. After calling at several South American ports and passing through the Strait of Magellan, she arrived at San Francisco in June 1866 and was soon thereafter decommissioned at the Mare Island Navy Yard. In 1874 her wooden hull was broken up as part of a program to "rebuild" Civil War era monitors into modern ones. In fact, she was replaced by a completely new ship, which was also named Monadnock.


    Hey George
    Here are some pictures of my new ironclad. The USS Monadnock. It is about 32" long X 6" wide. enjoy.....
    Best regards
    William J. Blackmore

    Scientists remove Civil War sub rear hatch

    Shown are straps attached to the rear hatch of the Confederate submarine H.L. before it was removed. The 40-foot, hand-cranked sub, the first in history to sink an enemy warship, sank off Charleston after sending the Union blockade ship Housatonic to the bottom on Feb. 17, 1864.

    By Bruce Smith
    Updated: 9:17 p.m. ET Sept 12, 2006

    CHARLESTON, S.C. - Scientists on Tuesday removed the rear hatch on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, although the work won't immediately remove the questions surrounding the sinking of the sub in 1864.

    The 40-foot, hand-cranked sub, the first in history to sink an enemy warship, sank off Charleston after sending the Union blockade ship Housatonic to the bottom on Feb. 17, 1864.

    The eight Hunley crew members went down with the sub.

    The Hunley has two towers with hatches but the rear hatch apparently was locked. After it was removed from the sub, which is in a conservation tank at a lab in North Charleston, the hatch was taken to the lab for X-rays.

    The way the sub was configured, most of the crew would have had to have opened that hatch and escaped through the back tower.

    The fact it was locked indicates the crew didn't sense an emergency in the last minutes of the sub, said state Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston and chairman of the South Carolina Hunley Commission.

    "It ends any speculation that there was panic on board," he said.

    Earlier this summer, scientists found that the forward hatch, where Capt. George Dixon would have been piloting the craft, was unlocked.

    It's unclear whether that might have been an attempt to escape or simply bring more air into the submarine. Scientists have also speculated it may have simply been damaged while the submarine sat on the ocean floor for 136 years.

    "I don't think there was any attempt to escape the submarine that night," McConnell said. "Any attempt to get out of the submarine would have been to the back."

    The remains of the crewmen, he said, were all found at their duty stations.

    Removing the rear hatch will allow scientists a chance to study a section of the sub that they have not been able to get to since it was raised more than six years ago.

    The rear hatch also contains a glass view port which must be removed before scientists can conserve the Hunley.

    With the rear hatch locked "the story turns back to the front tower and why was it unlocked," McConnell said. "Did it get damaged or did he (Dixon) have it unlocked for a purpose?"

    McConnell said the explanation may turn again to whether the crew suffocated, perhaps miscalculating the amount of oxygen they had.

    One important clue will be an X-ray of the valves of the pumping system which are now encrusted with sediment.

    The position of the valves should indicate whether the pump was set to take water in or out of the ballast tanks or, in the event the Hunley had taken on water, to pump it out of the crew compartment, McConnell said.

    Rear conning tower 2001

    Tower removed

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Navy Approves Hunley Conservation Plan

    The Associated Press
    Monday, September 25, 2006; 7:38 PM

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The U.S. Navy has approved plans to conserve the hand-cranked Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley by soaking the sub in high pH solutions such as sodium hydroxide or sodium bicarbonate to remove salts from the iron.

    The Hunley could be conserved by 2013 with the sub going into the pH bath in about two years.

    In this 2004 photo released by the Friends of the Hunley, scientist Harry Pecorelli investigates ballast pipes and valves of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Friends of the Hunley, FILE) (AP)

    Innovative research using subcritical fluids could shorten the conservation time, but "this new process is not far enough along at this time to benefit the conservation," retired Rear Adm. P.E. Tobin, director of Naval History for the Navy, wrote McConnell earlier this month.

    The Navy had to approve the conservation plan because, under an agreement signed a decade ago, the federal government retains title to the sub while South Carolina has permanent custody.

    Clemson researchers have been experimenting to see if the subcritical method holds promise for project. In such technology, fluids take on the characteristics of both a gas and a liquid under intense heat and pressure and have unique dissolving characteristics.

    "We're going to continue the research because the way the conservation plan has been outlined, it is not incompatible with using subcritical at some point," said Michael Drews, the materials scientist heading the Clemson University research team helping with the conservation.

    Electrolysis, another more traditional method used on large marine artifacts in which a slight electric current is passed through the water to remove the salts, has been ruled out.

    Drews said that in some applications the current doesn't always penetrate places where metals are joined. One objective of the conservation plan is that the sub be conserved without having to take it apart.
    "There have been cases on complex artifacts where it (electrolysis) has not worked particularly well," Drews said.

    Tobin's letter said that exhibition requirements should not shorten the timeline for completion of conservation, but the submarine's response to the extraction of chlorides and stabilization must be the deciding factor.
    Drews said only scientific monitoring will determine when the process is done.

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Work on Hunley to go on for years   
    Posted on Tue, Sep. 26, 2006

    U.S. Navy decides Confederate submarine must undergo lengthy preservation process


    The U.S. Navy has ruled the Hunley submarine must be preserved by a traditional soaking process, something that could increase both the time and the cost involved to preserve the sub.

    It might take five to seven years to get the H.L. Hunley museum-ready, said Robert Neyland, head of the U.S. Navy’s Naval Historical Center’s Underwater Archaeology Branch, on Monday.

    The S.C. Hunley Commission and Clemson University, which is planning to take over the sub’s preservation, had hoped the work would be complete by 2009.

    Preservation was expected to cost about $800,000 a year for three years, according to Clemson’s estimates. It isn’t known how the cost would be affected annually, but the additional time is almost sure to drive up the total money required.

    Raegan Quinn, spokeswoman for Friends of the Hunley, the Hunley Commission’s foundation, said Monday it’s too early to make budget reduction projections this far out with so many contributing factors.

    In making its decision, which was reviewed by more than a half-dozen international experts, the Navy said an alternate  and quicker  process developed by Clemson is too experimental for the Hunley, raised from the ocean floor in 2000.

    The Navy’s preferred process involves soaking the corroded, 10-ton Confederate sub in a solution such as sodium hydroxide or sodium bicarbonate. Those chemicals will slowly extract sea salts from the sub’s hull.

    Without preservation, the Hunley, which lies in a tank of cool water in a North Charleston laboratory, will turn to rust if exposed to air. Neyland said the chosen treatment is the most conservative and safest for the sub, the first to sink a ship in warfare.

    Neyland spoke Monday after releasing a letter the Navy sent earlier this month to Hunley Commission chairman Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston. Efforts to reach McConnell for comment were unsuccessful.

    In addition to an increase in the cost and time for preservation, the decision means:

     The Hunley Commission will have more time to plan and build a proposed $42 million Hunley museum. The commission approved the plan for the museum in 2004 and selected North Charleston as its site. That city pledged in 2004 to give $50,000 per year until the sub is in a new museum. Mayor Keith Summey could not be reached for comment Monday about whether a longer preservation process would cost the city more.

     A proposed provision in a tentative deal between Clemson and the Hunley Commission that requires Clemson to preserve the Hunley by Feb. 1, 2009, now appears difficult to attain.

    Under that provision, the Hunley Commission would be allowed to repossess the Hunley lab if Clemson did not finish preserving the sub by 2009. By then, Clemson would have spent $3 million in state bond money to upgrade the lab, meaning McConnell’s commission would acquire a lab with $3 million in improvements in 2009. If it hit the deadline, under the deal, Clemson would keep the lab.

    Last year, McConnell said a new technique that has been developed at the (Hunley) laboratory in conjunction with Clemson University would result in a speedy preservation.

    I envision us having the Hunley ready somewhere around 2008-2009, said McConnell at a Sept. 7, 2005, Hunley Commission meeting, according to the minutes of that meeting.

    The Hunley will be able to make her final trip upstream to a new facility many, many, many years ahead of what anybody had projected, McConnell said then.

    But the Navy, which has the final say-so in Hunley preservation, made it clear in its letter to McConnell that the best method is the soaking method.

    The Navy’s letter, written by retired Admiral Paul Tobin, Naval History director, said Clemson’s innovative research into the sub-critical methodology is very promising, but this new process is not far enough along at this time to benefit conservation of Hunley. In addition, no equipment or facilities to accommodate the submarine in this new treatment exists. It may be that in the future, if more research and development continues into this process, this decision can be revisited.

    Quinn praised the Navy’s decision. We recommended the approved conservation process, while outlining the sub-critical treatment as a potential alternative for the future once more research is completed, she said via e-mail.

    The letter is the first official documentation from the Navy stating they see great value and promise in the sub-critical methodology, and we see it as an overwhelming endorsement of the research we are conducting, Quinn wrote.

    Essentially, Clemson’s method involved immersing the Hunley in a pressurized heated chemical solution  which theoretically would trigger the quick release of salts. While Clemson researchers have experimented on small iron objects, more research is needed before attempting something as large and complex as the Hunley, Neyland said scientists concluded.

    Clemson officials did not return phone calls Monday.

    Approval of a preservation plan has taken more than two years. In 2004, Hunley scientists submitted their plan to the Navy.

    Since then, the Navy has circulated the document to leading underwater scientists, conservators, archaeologists, and other heritage experts from France, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, Neyland said.

    One of those scientists, Betty Seifert, a conservator and acting director of the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, said she was glad the Navy chose the time-tested soaking process.

    You don’t want to use the Hunley as a test case, Seifert said. The soaking process is safe. It will take a while, but you won’t destroy the artifact.

    No one can know how long the work will take, she said. There’s no easy answer. I’ve seen cannon balls that take two years.

    Removing salt from iron is a tricky process that depends on things like the iron’s makeup and how trapped the salt is in the matrix of the metal, she said.

    Hunley Commission member Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, said, What I want is what is best for the Hunley. Whether it takes five or more years to preserve the Hunley is not important. What is important is that it is done properly.

    Commissioners Rep. Kenny Bingham, R-Lexington, and Sen. John Courson, R-Richland, agreed.

    You only get one shot, said Bingham. But he said he also was glad the Navy spoke favorably of Clemson’s experimental process. It may not be used on the Hunley, he said, but it could result in scientific advances in the future. It’s like NASA.

    Seifert cautioned it may take years to preserve the Hunley. This is not instant gratification.

    Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.


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    I could find no other email address on the web site to mail this to so I hope you can forward my message to the appropriate person.

    Thank you for your recent invitation to join "The Friends of the Hunley", unfortunately I am retired and on a fixed income so $60 is a lot of money to me.

    However, I did visit the Hunley a few years ago when visiting Charleston, and the gentleman who was at the controls of the crane that actually lifted the ship from the bottom, Carl Jenkins Montgomery, is a long-time acquaintance of mine having assisted me at one point on the construction of my vessel "Bandersnatch" along with his father in the mid 1970s.

    I to, was very interested in why the Hunley sank (the last sinking of three) and carefully observed everything while I was at the museum.

    In addition to the points mentioned in the letter recently sent to me, there were others I observed at the museum:

    1.  After impaling the torpedo onto the hull of the target vessel the submarine backed away as the triggering line unwound from a spool on deck so when the torpedo exploded the conning hatch portlights were directly facing the explosion.

    2. There was a receipt on display for 150' of 3/8' line, the triggering line for the torpedo, indicating that the submarine was 150' away from the target when the torpedo exploded.

    3.  There followed soon thereafter a secondary explosion on the target vessel of one of its ammunition magazines.

    4.  Both portlights in the conning hatch were broken.

    5.  There was no de-watering pump (bilge pump) indicated on the plans or descriptions of the Hunley.

    My conclusion was that the submariners at the time did not have an true appreciation of the power of an underwater shock wave and that the closeness of the submarine to both the torpedo and the secondary explosions caused the portlights to be broken allowing water to enter the submarine, water that there was no means to remove.

    It could be that the water in the submarine due to the broken portlights
    caused her to be so low in the water that by the time the hatch was opened to show the blue light  there was not enough freeboard below the hatch top to prevent the sea from entering in large quantities and sinking the vessel.

    Norm Johnson
    S/V Bandersnatch
    Lying 30 07.7N 081 39.6W
    Julington Creek Estuary FL

    Dear Norm...there must some confusion ...we don't charge for anything..if you got a letter asking for money it might be a scam.  It is not from us. I write a newsletter that goes out every month or so and will answer your questions soon .  By the way the newsletter is free,  I'll sign you up if you like.  You  can also join  our discussion group.

    Some people donate $5.00 -$10.00 dollars...
    Please send me a copy of the letter you got so I can check it.   George W.Penington  Webmaster and Editor of the Hunley website and newsletter,

    I write a newsletter that goes out every month or so and will answer your questions soon .  By the way the newsletter is free,  I'll sign you up if you like.  You  can also join  our discussion group.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Ingo Bauernfeind" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 11:49 PM
    Subject: Contact to model maker Mr. W. Blackmore
    Forwarded: To: <>


    My current book project on the USS Arizona I am looking for a really detailed (radio-controled) model, which I would like to include in my book. I found a great model build by Mr. W. Blackmore on this website.

    Maybe you can help me to contact him or someone else, who owns a detailed model (please see original message below).

    If you have any questions about PH, USS Arizona, USS Missouri, or Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, please feel free to contact me.
    Aloha, Ingo

    Dear Mr. Blackmore,

    First of all you deserve a great compliment for your fantastic USS Arizona ship model. I found it on the "Warship-Models-Underway" website.

    My name is Ingo Bauernfeind, I am originally from Germany but I live in Hawaii, where I work for a local video production company and institutions in Pearl Harbor. This includes projects in cooperation with the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, USS Bowfin, and the USN. My final project at Hawaii Pacific University was a documentary about the midget sub attack on PH, which was on TV and is now for sale at the USS Arizona Museum.

    I am currently writing a book about the USS Arizona with the USS Arizona Memorial (historian Daniel Martinez) and my German publisher Frey Verlag(
    Working title: The Battleship USS Arizona - Then and Now The book will focus on the ships's life and a large photo section incl. underwater pictures. The museum will also benefit from the sale.

    I also would like to include a chapter about the USS Arizona as a ship
    model. As a result, I would be very grateful if I could use your photos for my book.

    In exchange I can offer you rare photos of the USS Arizona from the Memorial's collection, pictures of PH, USS Missouri, other warships, etc. I also can get you other materials about the ship since I work with the museum. I also will credit you and include a link to the website.

    If you are interested you also can write an essay about you idea to build the USS Arizona as an model.

    Please let me know if you are interested in working with me and if we can come to an agreement that benefits both sides.

    Thank you very much.
    With regards,
    Ingo Bauernfeind


    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 2:07 PM
    Subject: H L Hunley Crewman

    Has any more info ever been found on Seaman Joseph Ridgeway from the Hunley. I am researching my Ridgeway line and was curious who his family were.

    Barbara L.R.G.


    Mr. Penington,
    The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.
    TPL is leading an effort to raise public and private funds to purchase Morris Island and protect it as a public space for future generations. TPL has entered into an option for this purchase with Ginn Clubs & Resorts, and is now seeking to raise over $4.5 million to place Morris Island in public ownership and protect the island's nationally significant historical and natural resources.
    I would like to talk with you about our fundraising effort.  No, I am not seeking a gift.  I need to network.

    Gary D. Kovar, CFRE
    Principal Gifts Officer
    Southeast Regional Principal Gifts Office
    The Trust for Public Land
    2237 Riverside Avenue
    Jacksonville, FL 32204
    T:    904-388-7595 ext. 15
    F:    904-388-5260
    M:   904-234-9068
    Conserving Land for People - an average of 350 acres of parks and open space each and every day.  On the Web at
    The Trust for Public Land a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation conserving land for people. 
    Regarding The Campaign to Save Morris Island — please see:

    Back to the Table of Contents


    I Build customizable

    TOWN TRACKER - All about my favorite cities, where to go and what to see.
    I am putting shipwreck sites and history on this is in progress between Newsletters

    CONFEDERATE SITES: The forum is now up and running. Check it out, sign up is free

    DISNEY COUPONS: ways to get discounts and coupons at Disney World 


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     tour PLANNED by bus of Confederate Naval sites

    I am planning a one week tour by bus of Confederate

    Naval sites and museums from Wilmington (and Kinston), NC to Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; Columbus, GA; and ending in Mobile, AL. The cost estimates per person are $1500 to $2000 to include transportation, lodging, meals, and admissions. Participants will have to get to Wilmington and home from Mobile. If enough persons sign up I can line it up for this October, otherwise it will be October 2007.

     Anyone interested please contact me by return e-mail

    at Input welcome.

     PC Coker/Charleston

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    Tours of the Hunley are available 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Tours are not available on weekdays so that the archaeologists can continue their preservation work.

    Tickets are $12 plus a service charge and can be purchased by either calling 1-877-448-6539 or on the Internet at Children under 5 are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance, and walk-up tickets are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.


    Back to the Table of Contents


    If you Enjoy this Newsletter and want me to keep Publishing them Please make a donation by PayPal
    Total $10.00 or more would be helpful and appreciated..

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